[vlc-devel] GPLv3 again

Rémi Denis-Courmont rem at videolan.org
Fri Jul 20 16:58:42 CEST 2007

[Starting a new thread, 'cause I lost the original one]


From my reading, these are the main difference from GPLv2 to GPLv3 that 
I've spotted (this is not an excuse for not reading yourself):

* It is less US-centric; in particular, the liability disclaimer may now 
be viable in France and other countries with strong consumer 

* It solves a bunch of silly license incompatibilities, such as with 
preservation and advertisement of legal notices. For instance, I think 
that would allow linking against OpenSSL or recent faad.

* The patents language is more explicit, though not much stronger. In 
any case, it is surely better for those without patents (including 
most, if not all, significat VLC developpers).

* The DRM language is not as political as it used to be. What is left is 
merely a protection of users from copyright holders. I *think* this is 
good, consistent with my opinion that you cannot build proper DRM with 
GPL code (if at all anyway), while I really did not like the text in 
earlier drafts.

* To me, the anti-TiVo stuff is the most arguable. Basically, you have 
to give users sufficient informations to replace GPL software with 
their modified variant on any device, including embedded ones. As a 
user of embedded devices, I like that.
But as an author of software that may end up on embedded devices, I am 
not so positive. Afterall, so long as the device vendor gives me its 
source code modifications back to me, I do not really care whether its 
users can change the binary code on their device. I am considering 
putting a "special exception" against this on my own GPL'd software, 
but this is not possible for VLC, since there are too many copyright 
holders at stake.

As Sam pointed out, it is likely that we will be forced to switch 
anyway, sooner rather than later, as any of dependencies switch to 
(L)GPLv3. libsmbclient is a known case, but it is not a very important 

With these considerations in mind, I support switching future releases 
of VLC to GPLv3+ (assuming GPLv3 is accepted as DFSG-free), and other 
VideoLAN software to (L)GPLv3+ as appropriate.


Rémi Denis-Courmont
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